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Fun things to do with the kids in Shawnee, Kansas

Happy Family photo

The charming city of Shawnee is a coveted Kansas City suburb that takes pride in being a great community for families. In naming the city as one of the ten best suburbs in Kansas, Niche.com noted that one of the things residents love about their city is its dedication to put families first.

Shawnee’s welcoming, neighborly vibe has attracted many families looking for an ideal place to raise kids. With the locals’ sense of community, new residents instantly feel safe and welcomed, and blend in with the community easily. The city also attracts tourists from various parts of the country who come for the engaging attractions that entire families can enjoy.

Explore the many fun things to do in Shawnee, Kansas with your little ones. But first, let’s get to know more about the city and what makes it one of the best places to move with your family.


single story suburban home

Shawnee’s proximity to buzzier areas like Lenexa and downtown Kansas City allows residents to enjoy the perfect blend of rural and urban lifestyles. As Kansas Tourism describes the area, it is a “getaway that’s close to the city but far from the hustle and bustle,”

Before Shawnee became the town many know and love today, it was known as Gum Springs, the site of the Shawnee Indian church and meeting house in the late 1820s. It was also the first county seat of Johnson Countybefore losing out to Olathe in 1858. Additionally, Shawnee was the birthplace of the first newspaper in Kansas and the location of the state’s first jail, making it a notable locale in the Midwest.

Shawnee developed into an agricultural town in the late 19th century. Due to its dedicated truck farmers, the community gained distinction as one of the top fruit and vegetable producers throughout the country. Its thriving local farming scene also helped farmers to surmount the Great Depression better than other states.


happy family holding hands

Shawnee has attracted thousands of new residents every year, with its population rising by around 38.8% since 2000. This comes as no surprise given all the wonderful things the city has to offer.

Here are some of the perks you can enjoy when you move to Shawnee:

  1. Low cost of living

    The Economic Research Institute’s cost of living calculator reveals that the cost of living in Shawnee is 19% less than the national average. Food, transportation, housing, utilities, and healthcare services in this midwestern town are cheaper than in most cities throughout the country, attracting young adults and couples looking to start a family.

  2. Highly rated schools

    According to Public School Review, public schools in Shawnee like Ray Marsh Elementary School and Riverview Elementary School have an average ranking of 8 out of 10, registering higher-than-average math and reading proficiency scores than the rest of Kansas.

    Maranatha Christian Academy, St. Joseph Catholic School, and other private schools in Shawnee are also highly acclaimed by the town’s residents.

  3. Excellent weather 

    Shawnee’s fantastic climate encourages families to spend time together outdoors. Summers are pleasantly warm, while winters are remarkably mild. The town also sees low rainfall rates compared to other cities in the US, giving families plenty of sunny days for outdoor recreation.

  4. Varied activities and amenities

    Parks, museums, libraries, and other educational and recreational facilities offer countless things to do in Shawnee, Kansas. From fun family-friendly festivals to stimulating enrichment classes, the community keeps its residents in high spirits and brings households together through exciting and informative activities.


With the wealth of things to do in Shawnee, there’s hardly a dull day for families. No matter the time of year, you’ll find plenty of fun activities that you can enjoy with your kids.

Here are the top things to try:

  1. Interactive historic tours at Shawnee Town 1929

    Learn more about Shawnee’s rich past at Shawnee Town 1929! Established in 1966, Shawnee Town 1929 is an outdoor museum that introduces tourists, especially kids, to Midwestern farming life during the 1920s. Guides take visitors on interactive and engaging tours around the museum, where a recreated town center and a living history farm are the main attractions.

    Shawnee Town 1929 tours are unlike any other museum tour. At this one-of-a-kind attraction, kids can explore a farmhouse, market shed, chicken coop, and other truck farming facilities to get a glimpse of their hometown’s old days. They can also participate in unique activities like reading books to roosters or learning to wash clothes with a vintage washboard and laundry wringer.

  2. Fascinating science programs at Mad Science

    Observing and participating in science experiments with your kids is one of the best things to do in Shawnee, Kansas. Mad Science, an enrichment company founded in 1985 in Montreal, Canada, offers extraordinary science experiences to young learners—encouraging curiosity, exploration, and imagination.

    Mad Science and its Mad Scientists hold after-school and birthday programs, workshops, at-home activities, and other exclusive events around Shawnee, Kansas. They also work with town officials to host summer camps and teach kids about scientific concepts and principles like data gathering and analysis, robotics, chemistry, physics, biology, and even forensic science.

  3. Thrilling bowling matches at Park Lanes

    Park Lanes is a family night hotspot in Shawnee. It features bowling alleys, a spacious VIP bowling suite, a vibrant in-house arcade, and a full-service restaurant. Since 1957, it has been bringing families together through friendly bowling tournaments.

    Aside from hosting weekly family bowling matches, Park Lanes is also a well-known birthday party venue for those wanting something different from the usual birthday celebrations. Locals also flock to the bowling lanes to participate in competitive leagues and take home cash prizes, collectible bowling balls, and unique merchandise.

  4. Exciting community trips

    Shawnee Parks & Recreation and Shawnee Mission Trips collaborate annually to bring exciting trips and experiences to residents and guests. Residents are taken on fascinating tours to learn about the state’s colorful past and explore the incredible sights to see in Kansas City.

    Summer Solstice, Manhattan Farm Tour, and Arbor Day Farms are among the many events you can expect from the parks and recreation team of Shawnee. These tours aim to recognize the efforts of farmers around the state and encourage the public to continue supporting these local heroes.

  5. Enlightening summer camps

    Summer camps offer kids a safe environment to learn and discover new skills and experience new things to do in Shawnee, Kansas. Camps can also encourage children to appreciate the great outdoors, limit their screen time, build and maintain friendships, and make lasting memories with their camp counselors and fellow campers.

    The community of Shawnee hosts a handful of summer camps between May and August. Kids can join creative and performing arts camps to hone their musical abilities or perhaps begin their journey as theater actors. Health, fitness, and sports camps can educate them about the value of physical activity, healthy habits, and good sportsmanship. Parents can also sign youngsters up for STEM and computer camps with programs for business management, simple machine invention, coding, video game design, and more.

  6. Fun-filled festivals

    Every year, local authorities, organizations, and residents of Shawnee join forces to host child-friendly festivals celebrating the community and its vibrant culture. Below are some of the many events you and your family can look forward to in Shawnee.

    • Old Shawnee Days

      Known and loved for being one of the largest carnivals in Kansas, Old Shawnee Days features a weekend of parades, games, and rides. Locals also compete in baking contests and Rolle Bolle championships before capping the event with a free concert.

    • St. Patrick’s Parade

      Shawnee celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with a parade honoring Ireland’s patron saint and his roots. The celebration also showcases traditional Irish cuisine, music, and dance—introducing kids to the rich and diverse culture of the Irish.

    • PARKED

      Shawnee residents observe Independence Day by throwing a festival called PARKED. Families gather at Stump Park to enjoy a varied selection of dishes from food trucks, fun activities and attractions for kids, and an enthralling firework show at the end of the night.

    • Great Grillers

      BBQ enthusiasts gather at Shawnee Town 1929 annually for the Great Grillers BBQ competition. Participants showcase their best chicken, pork ribs and shoulder, brisket, and sausage recipes during this festival-style contest. Kids can participate in sampling the food offered by contestants while having fun at the Kids Zone .

    • Scarecrow Festival

      Kids decorate pumpkins while their parents shop for seasonal produce at the Farmer’s Market during the annual Scarecrow Festival. Local businesses also compete for the best scarecrow and fall-themed décor during the festival, painting downtown Shawnee with autumnal colors.

    • Christkindlmarkt

      At Shawnee, various Christmas traditions and cultures blend into one merry celebration called Christkindlmarkt. Organized by the Shawnee Sister Cities Committee, the event allows children to meet Santa Claus, listen to gifted carolers, enjoy holiday treats, and participate in Christmas-themed arts and crafts activities.


  7. Exhilarating trips to amusement centers and water parks

    An amusement or water park in Shawnee, KS is a go-to for families wanting to unwind and make the best of the town’s sunny weather. Going on rides, bouncing around indoor trampolines, and taking a plunge into cool, refreshing pools can also keep kids active and entertained while building lasting memories with their parents, siblings, or friends.

    Sky Zone Trampoline Park and Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park are two of the many amusement and adventure parks around the locality. Nearby are Splash Cove and Thomas A. Soetaert Aquatic Center with delightful water-based attractions like body slides, lazy rivers, and wave pools.

  8. Riveting sports matches

    Shawnee locals are massive sports lovers. Every year, the city hosts district tournaments in softball, baseball, soccer, hockey, bowling, basketball, and volleyball, and plays host to teams and players from other communities.

    Families gather at Shawnee’s sports facilities regularly to support the city’s athletes and watch exciting games. Sports organizations from areas outside Shawnee also rent these impressive facilities to host multi-sport tournaments.


single story suburban home

If you are thinking of moving to Shawnee with your family, expect to see homes for sale in varying styles, features, sizes, and prices. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Architectural styles and home types

    Bungalow, farmhouse, ranch, craftsman, and Colonial are some of the most prevalent architectural styles in Shawnee. You’ll find fixers uppers that need a bit more work, but most properties for sale are move-in ready and come with updated features and utility systems.

    Homes in Shawnee are often single story and split level properties. You will also find multi-level luxury homes with larger floor spaces and top of the line community amenities.

  2. Age and features

    Many homes for sale in Shawnee are newly constructed properties built only in the last three to five years. There are also a number of new developments that offer semi-custom homes to those who prefer new construction properties over existing ones. Properties that are around 50 to 75 years are also prevalent, giving home buyers a glimpse into the town’s history.

    Homes in Shawnee typically come with two to five bedrooms and bathrooms, walk-in closets, fireplaces, and outdoor spaces such as patios, porches, or decks. Most have two garage spaces and feature roomy kitchens and dining areas. High end homes boast such features as wet bars, in-ground pools, and skylights.

  3. House and lot size

    Shawnee homes come in a wide range of sizes. The most upscale homes can have floor areas of up to 6,000 square feet or more, while smaller houses can range in size from 700 square feet to over 1,000 square feet, which are perfect starter homes for young couples or families.

    Lot sizes around Shawnee range from around 1,000 square feet to almost 15 acres or more. These properties offer plenty of outdoor space for families where kids can spend their days playing under the sun.

  4. Price range

    As of May, 2023, the median listing price in Shawnee was $387,000 or $175 per square foot.Starter homes are priced at around $180,000, offering home buyers endless possibilities of customization.

    On the other hand, the highest priced homes have price tags of around $800,000 to over $1 million and come with expansive lot sizes of around one-third acre to over 6 acres. These properties often come with updated features and exclusive neighborhood amenities like swimming pools and trails, justifying the high price tags.


Move into one of Shawnee’s historic neighborhoods and enjoy a fantastic way of life with your family. Let our trusted and certified real estate experts at the Shanan Group help you explore your property options around the city and close the best deal! With our lead listing and buyer’s agent Shanan Steere’s 23-year experience in the real estate industry, you can be assured of expert guidance and dedication to give you a smooth and seamless home buying experience.

Reach out to Shanan at 913.972.8599 or this email or to Eddy at 913.912.0552 or this email. You can also send us a message here to get started in finding the perfect home your family will be proud to oven.